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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4215||2010||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 39, Issue 6, December 2010, Pages 631–644
Bourdieu's (1986) General Theory of the Economy of Practices assumes that people perpetually transform tangible and intangible forms of capital according to certain ‘laws of conversion’. On this background, and combining sociology and micro-economics, we analyze specific strings of capital conversion in time and space. More specifically, we raise the question: How do private entrepreneurs transform local social capital into economic capital? We combine in-depth interviews with four private entrepreneurs in rural Denmark with Prisoner's Dilemma game theory. Thus each of our cases illustrates one of the outcomes in the PD matrix. In this way we explain why only one of the four entrepreneurs succeeds in capitalizing social capital.
In economic sociology, Bourdieu's neo-capital theory (Bourdieu, 1986) has regularly been applied by sociologists eager to reject the rational action theory (Anheier et al., 1995). Similarly, sociologists have worried about political scientists and economists monopolizing the popular concept of ‘social capital’ – broadly defined as network cooperation based on trust and regular face-to-face interaction – and including it in the neoclassical economic vocabulary. We however find it fruitful to unite the Bourdieusian and rational action approaches. In this way, we abstain from choosing between an exogenous approach (cultural–historical constructions) and an endogenous approach (universal human mind) (cf. Jackman and Miller, 1998). Rather we seek to analyze complex capital conversion within a rational action framework, that is, within specific games. Following Bourdieu, it is not erroneous to claim that individual agents are simultaneously driven by genuine (altruistic) interests – by him termed social libido – and pure (utilitarian) self-interest. There is simply no such clear cut between non-economic and economic purposes. Human action is per se socioeconomic. Thus, according to Bourdieu people exchange tangible and intangible resources in a social world that is near empty of a one-dimensional Economic Man. An intellectual invention (or monster), who – should he or she actually exist – would totally fail to participate in a socially constructed passion play, an illusio, and therefore would be an incredibly lonesome and unhappy stranger in this world, like the misers in Dickens’ literary universe. Methodologically, we think that the laws of conversion (Bourdieu, 1986, pp. 252–255) can best be observed at the micro-level, by analyzing specific strings of capital conversion in time and space done by concrete persons. Therefore, in the following we draw on in-depth interviews with four private entrepreneurs in rural Denmark, in an attempt to go deep into their biographies in order to grasp their whole worldviews. Our key contribution is to combine this qualitative ‘bottom-up’ methodology with a rational action framework from micro-economics, namely Prisoner's Dilemma game theory, illustrating each of the four pay-off outcomes in the matrix with ‘flesh and blood’ so to speak. Indeed, we think the combination of Bourdieu's capital theory and game theory is appropriate. Bourdieu himself often used the ‘game’ metaphor – for example actors playing cards, some having better cards than others (quantity and quality of their capital stock) and others playing their cards better than others – stressing that each game always is a historically constructed social game. Our overall question, then, becomes: How do private entrepreneurs transform local social capital into economic capital? We try to answer this question by analyzing capital accumulation and conversion in situ, that is, following concrete actors within specific time–space contexts (Svendsen, 2006). This means that we abandon an often used ‘one-capital’ approach, implying a one-sided focus on either physical, economic, human, cultural or social capital, and instead include many forms of tangible/intangible capital that are inextricably intertwined and mutually convertible (cf. Waldstrøm and Svendsen, 2008). This takes place in repeated games of long duration (10–15 years) where an entrepreneur strives to obtain win–win cooperation with other entrepreneurs in a local area, evaluating the pay-off obtained after each round. This however with varying success and strongly contingent upon incentive structure and the overall socio-cultural context, including, e.g. degree of obligations of reciprocity among players, local traditions, personal acquaintance, inter-personal trust and the range of possibilities to punish free-riders (Herreros, 2004, 44ff; Poulsen, 2009, 40ff). In such specific time–space contexts, a person's ‘credentials’ appear particularly important for economic success, in the form of possession of a harmonious mix of tangible and intangible capital (e.g. tools, skills, money, connections, social networks) that function as a credit in the broadest sense of the word – that is, giving access to more capital, which hitherto has been out of reach for the entrepreneur in question. In line with our findings, it is probable that social capital here should be seen as a ‘master capital’ as, without this capital form, it simply becomes impossible to get access to all the other capitals and, ultimately, to credibility and credit in the local area. Seen from the perspective of the individual entrepreneur, then, accumulating capital becomes synonymous with getting access to capital through local networks – that is to say, if networking with other local entrepreneurs pays the individual entrepreneur (rather than, say, cultivate national or international networks). However, if cooperation is non-productive or even counter-productive for the entrepreneur, due to various cooperative barriers including culture, communication, individual traits, degree of personal knowledge, level of trust, etc., the entrepreneur's costs (time spending, work and money) will exceed the profits he can obtain, and he will ultimately be tempted to defect. Thus the game ends up in a Nash equilibrium where all players’ dominant strategy is non-cooperation in a lose–lose game, that is, what in behavioral economics has been regarded as the most dominant strategy, meaning a strategy that “produces better results no matter what strategy the opposing player follows” (Frank, 2006, p. 455). Using iterated game theory, we have chosen four cases that may well illustrate four typical outcomes for rural entrepreneurs investing in local networks over a fairly long period of time (5–10 years).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Bourdieu's theory on the various forms of capital (Bourdieu, 1986), also named a neo-capital theory (Waldstrøm and Svendsen, 2008), has regularly been applied by sociologists, who reject rational action theory. In this paper we however wanted to reconcile these two powerful approaches. Hence we argued that Bourdieu's (Bourdieu, 1986) seminal idea that forms of tangible and intangible capital (e.g. physical, economic, social, symbolic) are continuously accumulated and converted by individuals can best be explained within a rational action framework, which however takes seriously into consideration the high risks of labor-time investments made by the single actor in complex situations rich on socioeconomic considerations. Methodologically, we found that the ‘laws of conversion’ (Bourdieu, 1986, pp. 252–255) can best be observed at the micro-level, by analyzing specific strings of capital conversion in time and space. On this background, our main question was: How do private entrepreneurs transform local social capital into economic capital? We defined ‘capital’ in line with Adam Smith's seminal definition – a wealth that accrues its owner revenues without immediately being destroyed itself – however expanding the concept within a neo-capital taxonomy. To narrow the focus, we looked at conversion work by concrete entrepreneurs seeking to transform social into economic capital. With economic capital we understood an extremely ‘liquid’ and easily convertible, tangible form of capital in the form of money, stocks, bonds and the like – in our specific cases as the monetary income of the entrepreneur. In line with Bourdieu, we defined social capital as the aggregate of actual or potential network resources available for a group member, that is, an intangible form of capital, which exists between human beings; cannot be taxed; is increased by usage and cultivation; is informal; is flexible; is accessible for all people; helps solve collective action problems; and gives access to all the other forms of capital, why we suggested to baptize social capital a ‘master capital’. To account for social-to-economic capital conversions, we used a simple Prisoner's Dilemma model on four different cases. In this way, we tried to explain the reiterated plays of four entrepreneurs in rural Denmark, engaging in various types of cooperation with other local entrepreneurs. Our cases aimed to illustrate four typical outcomes for rural entrepreneurs investing in local networks over a longer period of time (5–10 years). An evident weakness in our approach was that our game theoretical approach was simplistic – and, indeed, we did never intend to make a contribution to game theory as such. Moreover, we may have stretched Bourdieu's capital theory too much, reducing a framework for rich sociological analyses connecting to key concepts such as ‘field’ and ‘habitus’ to a near formalistic, micro-economic analysis. In other words, we sacrificed complexity for the sake of clarity, somewhat similar to the many attempts to formalize the theories of Keynes. The main strength of our approach was the attempt to integrate complex human strategies of capital conversion within a rational actor framework, that is to say, within fairly predictable games. We wanted to offer a simple and parsimonious illustration, and visualization, of the four outcomes in the Prisoner's Dilemma matrix in an innovative way, by use of long, qualitative interviews. Hence, as we see it, the strength of the approach is the combination of Bourdieu's capital theory with typical cooperative outcomes, as explicated in the PD matrix, illustrating how entrepreneurs at the micro-level act out from socioeconomic motivation and how their strategies in converting one form of capital into the other (here social into economic) may often be miscalculated and fail. As it was described, only the first game (Iver Gram) can be seen as a success. This because it ends up in a stable win–win game formalized by clear rules of the cooperative game, including possibilities for effective sanctioning of free-riders. Thus, in order to obtain a bigger share of the economic activities his tourist enterprise attracted to the area, the entrepreneur Iver Gram succeeded in establishing “unconventional cooperation” between local and regional partners, involving reputational effects and the conversion of social capital into economic capital. The three other outcomes, however, are all ‘conversion failures’, with incipient cooperative games returning to a Nash equilibrium, where the dominant strategy of both the entrepreneur in question and his local partners is to refrain from cooperation. Not least, the interesting case of Kai Winther seems to form a stark contrast to the Gram case. Like Gram, Winther puts his stake on social capital, cultivating local networks and building up credibility and, supposedly, goodwill and credit among the Fejø entrepreneurs – that is, intangible capital convertible to money (or at least, that's what he expects). However, unlike Gram Winther is a bad player and simply makes a miscalculation, a kind of arithmetic error – similar to a poker player taking too high risks with too bad cards. For various reasons, then, Winther plays his cards wrongly and is therefore not able to reach the last stage of his conversion line – capitalization into economic capital. Instead, he experiences a kind of coup d’etat from the side of his co-players, despite his year-long efforts to build up a Fejø brand to the benefit of all the islanders and hereby save up credibility and credit. In the end, however, it turns out that his intangible capital is de facto unusable (in a narrow private economic sense). It is simply not capital and, as he himself realizes, he has decidedly received nothing but the sucker's pay-off. Being a professional entrepreneur, he simply cannot afford this in the long run. He therefore acknowledges his failed investments and subsequent loss, dismisses his saved-up intangible capital and concentrates upon solely providing private goods. Hence, overall, we see that social capital is not always a ‘good’ capital for entrepreneurs to invest in, indeed at times not capital or even counter-productive. This is to say that, for a private entrepreneur (expecting future economic gains), it is extremely risky business to invest a lot of resources in social capital! However, on the other hand, for calculating master players such as Iver Gram it is in all ways profitable to invest in social capital. This is because such actors are capable to devise more or less formalized systems that forces co-partners into a game where they have to actively contribute with the prospect of considerable economic gains for all participants and, thusly, to avoid free-riding reducing these gains. In this way, master players solve their collective action problems, and their social networks actually become an important part of their capital.